A number of Queens lawmakers yesterday lauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s announcement that the state completed a $58 million reconstruction of three bridges at the Long Island Expressway/Grand Central Parkway interchange in Queens.
The work also includes highway improvements on the LIE between the GCP and College Point Boulevard, in Queens. The project began in the spring of 2015.
“These vital improvements will help ease congestion at this busy interchange for motorists while offering those traveling to LaGuardia and JFK a smoother commute,” said Cuomo. “By modernizing and strengthening Queens’ transportation infrastructure, we help to meet the demands of the 21st century traveler while spurring economic growth for the entire Empire State.”
Traffic at this busy interchange was moved into its final configuration this week and finishing work on the project will be completed this spring. Approximately 350,000 vehicles pass through this critical interchange each day.
The reconstructed bridges include the LIE mainline over the GCP, as well as the eastbound and westbound LIE service roads over the GCP. The decks and steel structures for all three bridges were replaced and the bridges were widened to create shoulders where none existed. Additionally, to enhance mobility in the westbound direction, the entrance lane from the Van Wyck Expressway to the westbound LIE mainline was extended, providing a longer merge distance and reducing traffic congestion.
Lighting upgrades were installed on the LIE mainline and service roads between College Point Boulevard and the GCP, as well as beneath the LIE at the GCP. New LED lighting and upgraded cables have increased visibility there and are saving energy.
Additional drainage structures were installed and existing ones were cleaned to facilitate storm water run-off. Upgrades to the Intelligent Transportation System, which helps publicize and manage traffic conditions, included new fiber optic cable, a new power source for electronic message signs, new ITS hub cabinets and a new camera pole with two new cameras. In addition, the concrete deck of the LIE Bridge over College Point Boulevard was repaired and the roadway in that area was reconstructed to improve drainage.
The project was progressed in stages to minimize traffic disruption. Three travel lanes in each direction were maintained throughout construction.
Project finishing work will be completed this spring, including the installation of sections of concrete barrier, pavement restoration, roadway resurfacing, and the installation of new pavement markings on the LIE mainline and service roads, as well as landscape restoration. Additionally, the roadway from 112th Street to east of College Point Boulevard will be resurfaced.
“Our roads need an urgent injection of investment to ensure they do not continue to deteriorate. We need to accelerate and make the modernization of our infrastructure a priority. The reconstruction of these three bridges at the Long Island Expressway/Grand Central Parkway interchange is a good step toward the goal of modernizing our roads to improve safety. I applaud Governor Cuomo for this and other projects put in place to improve our network of roads,” said Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside).
Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) noted the locations reconstructed are along one of the busiest traffic corridors in the state. “The completed rehabilitation of the three bridges will have enormous benefits to my constituents and commuters at large,” he said.
Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, Douglaston) said, “Strong and resilient transportation infrastructure is critical to spurring local economies, connecting travelers to their destinations and helping move New York forward. I thank the Governor and the state DOT for investing in this critical interchange in Queens and for offering traffic relief and smoother commutes for New Yorkers.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) said that motorists and commercial vehicles who use the LIE/GCP interchange will soon feel a significant difference, thanks to the acceleration of this vital reconstruction project.
“Governor Cuomo and the New York State DOT should be commended for the safer and smoother rides, and for making this reconstruction a priority and completing it months ahead of schedule,” Katz said.
City Council members Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) also praised the work.
“This interchange is a critical connector for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on it every day. With the completion of this project, New York is helping to reduce traffic congestion and create an easier commute for New Yorkers and visitors alike. I thank the Governor and NYSDOT for their commitment to investing in our city’s and our state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Kolowitz.